Sam's 10 Survival Items - ALONE

All photos courtesy of HISTORY

Hey guys!

If this is your first time here at the Woodsong Blog, welcome! My name is Sam, and I'm one of 10 survival enthusiasts who was dropped into the wilderness of Vancouver Island, solo, without a camera crew, to film my adventure for "as long as I can last." I've had a lot of people inquire about the specifics of my kit over the past couple of weeks, and here's your answer!

When choosing these items, my mindset was focused solely on long-term wilderness living in the Pacific Northwest (ie rain, rain, and more rain). 


An axe has proven to be an absolutely essential item in the bush. My axe was made up of a vintage head, and an ash handle that I carved specifically for the show. It's hard to find me in the woods without an axe, and when I do spend time in the woods without it (on wilderness treks in the New Mexico high desert) I tend to have that "oops, I went to work without my pants on" feeling. 

Sleeping Bag

I suggested going on the show without my sleeping bag, to which my wife replied, "you're stupid." Sure, I've slept in the woods for weeks at a time without one, but during the winter, she's right. I opted to take a large canvas "trapper" sleeping bag, so that I could easily dry it out over a fire without melting the bag. It was heavy, but this wasn't a hiking trip by any stretch of the imagination. 

Ferro Rod

When it comes to long-term wilderness living its hard to beat a big, fat ferro rod. With the right training, it's possible to achieve fire with a ferro rod in any condition. 


I brought along my trusty Green River Hunter. Like many bushcraft knives, it has a 5" carbon steel blade, full tang, and a hickory handle. Its quite possibly the least flashy knife that anyone has ever carried into the bush. It's cheap, tough, uncomfortable and thin. Over the years I've used this knife for skinning game, preparing food, fine carving tasks, and even as a bearing block for my bowdrill. It's nothing special, but it's my knife of choice on any wilderness expedition. 

300 Yards of Single Filament Line and 25 Hooks

Fishing... how hard can it be? 

Plastic Tarp

I brought a 5 mil translucent dropcloth for a tarp. I had used them in the past for long term shelters and enjoyed them because of the natural light they provide. If you've seen episode 2 of ALONE, I use a portion of the tarp to build a rain catch in a rotting Western Red Cedar. 

Metal Pot

My trusty old Zebra pot had cooked me about 700 meals by the time I was dropped on Vancouver Island, and even my favorite bush beverage, spruce tea!


In my mind, the slingshot is an incredible tool for small game hunting. Furthermore, being on a rocky beach provided more ammo than I would ever be able to shoot. It may seem a bit redundant to bring along both a slingshot and archery equipment, but both tools provided me with an element of "sport" if it can be called that. Although their primary use is to obtain food, they can both be used as entertainment in the form of "target practice."

Bow and 6 Arrows

The option to bring archery equipment was too hard to pass up. I brought along an old 45 lb recurve with handmade Ash arrows. I've been bowhunting, in some capacity, since I was 4 years old, and although I wouldn't consider myself a great shot, it would at least provide me with some means of harvesting large game if the option presented itself. Being from the midwest, I wasn't quite sure what types of "medium" game I would run into. I'm from the land of coons, opossum, cottontail, and wild turkey. Surely there would be some type of game that could be easily harvested with a bow in this wet, foreign place. 

Extra Emergency Rations

I brought along a small amount of pemmican for my emergency rations. Simply put, you can't starve to death if you have food. 

Tune in this Thursday for the latest episode of ALONE on HISTORY 9pm CST

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Sam is a writer, adventurer, and founder of Woodsong. In 2011 his experiences over many nights in remote wilderness areas inspired him to start this blog! Sam’s adventures have lead him throughout North America where he has had the opportunity to learn from world-class outdoorsmen, and perhaps the greatest teacher of all, the natural world.

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Sam Larson6 Comments